Next Media was founded by high profile businessman Jimmy Lai, known for his support for democracy and criticism of China. It introduced tabloid-style journalism into Hong Kong and Taiwan, with the hugely successful Apple Daily. The group made a rare misstep by entering Taiwan’s saturated broadcasting market. In October 2012 it agreed to sell its loss-making Taiwan TV unit and to terminate its video-on-demand (VOD) services, but the deal fell through in March 2013.
Next Media losses widen to HK$928m in first half
Next Media, which is in the process of selling its loss-making Taiwan businesses, has reported losses for the six months to September, almost triple that of last year.
The group, which publishes the Chinese-language Apple Daily News and a number of magazines in Hong Kong, and has newspaper and television businesseses in Taiwan, said the losses for the six months amounted to HK$928.39 million compared with HK$324.02 million for the same period last year.
The loss, it said, was mainly caused by impairment charges on assets and equipment as a result of cessation of its multimedia division and programmes and films rights of its television division in Taiwan.
The television and multimedia division recorded a loss of HK$972.3 million, up from a loss of HK$495.8 million a year ago.
The group's core newspaper publication business reported a profit decline of 52 per cent to HK$106.4 million for the six months, down from HK$221.8 million a year earlier, mainly due to a drop in advertising revenue and investment costs for the free Sharp Daily.
Its flagship paid-newspaper Apple Daily suffered an 18.7 per cent year-on-year drop in advertising revenue to HK$293.5 million. The Taiwan Apple Daily also saw a drop of revenue of 13.8 per cent to HK$577.1 million for the six months. Its magazines' total revenue dropped 3.9 per cent to HK$514 million.
Publishing mogul Jimmy Lai Chee-ying's Next Media in October agreed to sell its print and TV business to a consortium for HK$4.64 billion that includes Formosa Plastics chairman Wang Wen-yuan, entrepreneur Jeffrey Koo Jnr, Want Want China Broadband chairman Tsai Shao-tsung, Yung Len Life Service chairman Lee Shih-tsung, and Taiwan Fire & Marine Insurance chairman Lee Tai-hung. The deal is pending regulatory approval.